As a mother of a 6 and 8 year old, I can tell you that parenting is not easy. But over the years I have learned a lot about parenting so I want to share with you the 10 best parenting tips I have found that work for my family and others that I have shared these tips with. In addition to being a parent for almost 9 years now, I have 10 years of experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist working with babies, toddlers and school age children. I have seen my fair share of tantrums and questionable behavior.
There is no book (not even mine) or course that is going to prepare you for everything you will need to know to fulfill all of the job requirements that parenting entails.
From my experience I have learned the best strategy is to Keep It Simple, or if you want to take it a step further why not Keep It Super Simple (KISS).
Here are some tips I have gathered over the years for how you can KISS successfully.
♥ Don’t Lose Your Cool
I know, easier said than done. But I have learned (often the hard way) that screaming and yelling at a child will not solve anything. If your child is having a tantrum and you are having a tantrum right next to them, they will think that this behavior is normal. Children learn through imitation. Isn’t there a saying that goes something like “Monkey See, Monkey Do…”?
♥ Be Positive
By this I mean try to use positive language around your children. Looking at my first point, I should probably follow my own advice and rephrase that to “Remain Calm”. Children, especially young ones, don’t have a good grasp on negation. So when you shout “don’t run” and they laugh and run faster, it is not always done out of defiance. Children often only hear/understand key words. In this case the child hears “run”. Whenever possible, tell your child what you want him to do rather than what you don’t want him to do.
♥ Act Like A Child ♥
Yes, for real (except for the tantrums children have, you don’t need to do that while acting like a child). Get down on the floor and act like a child. Children love when their parent’s interact with them on a child like level. Get silly and let your inner child loose. And, as an added bonus, children learn a lot when their parent/caregiver gets down to their level and actually “plays” with them. Follow your child’s lead and see what he is interested in and then play along!
♥ Limit Extra Curricular Activities
Children under the age of 6 (in my opinion) do not need to be enrolled in every activity under the sun. This may also be the case with older children, but many children do have expanding interests as they get older. It seems that nowadays your parenting skills are judged by how many activities you have your child enrolled in. While to an outsider you and your child may seem like superstars, on the inside you are probably running around wondering where your head is most days. And, your child is not going to be any smarter by being involved in all of these activities. On the contrary, with too much scheduling your child won’t have the opportunity learn some fundamental skills that are accomplished through unstructured free play.
♥ Take A Break From Pinterest
Yes, I said it, step away from your computer/phone/tablet. If you want to feel like a failure as a parent then by all means, keep checking out those pins that no real parent can accomplish. Ok, all kidding aside, Pinterest does have a great deal of amazing information and you can add any website you like to your boards (like this one!), but be careful not to get too caught up in trying to be the perfect parent and then failing because your child’s birthday cake looks like a truck drove over a dirt pile and not like the exploding volcano it was supposed to look like.
♥ Do What Works For You
There are 1000’s of parenting tips you can find online (many of which are free). Each will claim that the tips in the article are the best parenting tips you will ever find. However, each child is different so in the end you have to do what works for your child. Some “experts” say that time outs should be avoided and that they do not work.
But, if you have tried giving your child a time out and the behavior you wanted to put an end to has ceased as a result of the time out, then it looks like it is working for you. We use time outs in our house, but I honestly don’t think they are very effective for us. I usually use a time out as a last resort because I need to calm myself down and think of a better way to deal with my child’s behavior. I do this while my child is safely in his/her room (usually kicking the door).
♥ The Consequence Should Fit The Behavior Being Disciplined
I try to do this as often as possible because I find that they learn more from their mistakes this way. My son loves screens and usually when he gets in trouble it has to do with screen time. If I tell him that screen time is over and it’s time to play, I give him a 5-10 minute warning. Then I give another 2 minute warning. Finally I tell him screen time is over. If he refuses to shut it off, he knows that the consequence is losing screen time for the next day (sometimes it’s more than 1 day depending on the situation). I take away the screen as a consequence rather than saying he can’t go to his friends house to play, for example. Playing with his friend has nothing to do with not following the rules around screen time, so I won’t take that away from him.
♥ Hug And Kiss Your Kids Everyday
Some experts say that a 20 second hug is as effective or even more so than prescription antidepressants. Not sure I quite believe that, but hugging does have many positive benefits. I have talked to my kids about how hugging can help them to feel better when they are sad or mad, so when they are upset they know I will go in for a hug and a kiss. Sometimes my hug is welcomed with arms across the chest and a head turned away from me, but I still go in for the hug. But we also give lots of hugs and kisses when everyone is happy (they are better that way).
♥ You Might Also Like: Are You At Your Wits End With Your Child’s Behavior? Read This! ♥
♥ Don’t Stress Over A Mess
Your home does not need to look like a model home when it is just you and the kids. Leave the cleaning for when company is coming over. I used to be obsessive over how my house looked. I wanted it to look like something out of a magazine. I soon realized the my compulsion to clean and tidy was getting in the way of interacting with my kids. I still make sure the dishes are done, the counters are wiped and the crumbs are swept (because that is just gross and I am still a bit neurotic) but the rest I leave for Sunday afternoon or when we are going to have visitors. I also don’t fixate on making my children clean their rooms. When the mess in their rooms or playroom becomes to much too handle, then it’s time to clean their rooms!
Their rooms are their escape (or where they go when they’ve misbehaved). It is where some of their most creative moments have come from. A child’s room is like their workshop. However, about once a month I do ask that my kids tidy their rooms and throw away papers and toys that they never look at. We also donate a lot of unwanted toys and that helps their rooms stay somewhat tidy.
♥ Sit Back And Enjoy Your Favorite Beverage (Guilt Free)
Parent’s need some downtime. Don’t feel bad because you want to sit on the couch, kick your feet up and watch some mindless TV while sipping on a beverage (no, it doesn’t have to be alcoholic, but don’t feel bad if it is) after the kids have gone to bed. You have worked all day and then some. You need to take care of yourself in order to be the best parent you can be.
Remember, take a deep breath and do the best you can. These 10 best parenting tips might not work for everyone but I hope at least a few of them will be of help to you. Parenting is not a competition, although it sometimes seems that way. It’s also not a race. If you want to have a simple non-themed birthday party for your child, then do that. What is wrong with pizza, chips, juice and running around the house being kids? Absolutely nothing!